As the studio prepares production for the first of the new "Star Wars" movies, special effects giant Industrial Light & Magic may open a facility in the United Kingdom to take advantage of foreign tax subsidies, the company told TheWrap on Tuesday.
Great. Now C-3PO won't be the only robot with an English accent.
Miles Perkins, head of corporate communications for ILM's parent company, Lucasfilm, said that the company is considering doing the effects work in London. "We're evaluating a number of different scenarios and doing our due diligence," he said.
The move could be significant, especially in the Bay Area, where ILM is based, though there's no word on how many area jobs might be affected. TheWrap reported the company has explored installing fiber optic cable so its team based at the company's headquarters in the Presidio of San Francisco can oversee work coming from the U.K.
ILM helped revolutionize the business through its work on films like the Indiana Jones franchise and "Jurassic Park." Yet rivals say the company may have a disadvantage against foreign visual-effects companies that are able to offer studios more generous tax incentives on their post-production work.
"If they open in London they're going to kill everyone there," a rival visual-effects executive said. "There's no bigger name."
Perkins said that there were no plans to leave the Bay Area. "The core of our business is here, and there isn't the intention of diminishing that core," he said. "That would be suicide. The people who make up our brain trust are here, and we have no intention of doing anything to change that."
Perkins likened any expansion in London to ILM's announcement in 2012 that it was establishing a hub in Vancouver to work on specific projects. Like the U.K., certain Canadian cities such Vancouver offer more generous post-production tax credits and subsidies than California.
Though ILM said it won't reduce its San Francisco presence, the rival executive said he has seen several resumes circulating from former ILM employees since April.
Perkins said those were likely project employees who cycled out when work was completed on several upcoming summer releases like "Pacific Rim."
"It is common for this to happen coming out of the summer films only to ramp up again in the fall," Perkins said. "This isn't an easy business, but this company is pretty darn stable," he added.
Right. A "Star Wars" movie a year, starting in 2015, won't hurt.
Perkins didn't say when the company will decide on a possible London office, and that most of the effects work on the "Star Wars: Episode VII" will be done between 2014 to 2015.
CATHERINE ZETA-JONES ENTERS TREATMENT CENTER: Catherine Zeta-Jones has entered a treatment center to work on her bipolar disorder, TMZ reported.
The 43-year-old actress and wife of actor Michael Douglas checked in to the undisclosed center Monday and expects to be their for 30 days.
Sources told the website the move is proactive. "It's maintenance," one source said.
Jones did a stint in treatment in 2011. At the time, her rep said the Academy Award winner "made the decision to check in to a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II disorder."
A source told People.com that Zeta-Jones planned to return to treatment as a way for doctors to monitor her medication. "There was no big problem," said a friend. "This was just a good time to do it. She is in between projects. This has always been part of the plan. She would manage her health. She is vigilant about it."
TMZ said Zeta-Jones was last seen in public on April 22, on the red carpet at the 40th Anniversary Chaplin Award Gala at Lincoln Center with Douglas.
'DOWNTON ABBEY" ACTRESS TO PLAY CINDERELLA: Lily James of "Downton Abbey" will play Cinderella in Disney's live-action version of the classic tale, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Kenneth Branagh will direct, with the evil stepmother played by Cate Blanchett.
James played Lady Rose McClare on Season 3 of "Downton Abbey," and will reportedly be back for the fourth season. James' film experience includes playing Korrina in "Wrath of the Titans."
Emma Watson was supposedly in talks to play Cinderella, but the deal never materialized, said the website.
The Cinderella project began in May 2010 in the wake of the studio's success with "Alice in Wonderland."
You know, perhaps Johnny Depp could play the wicked stepmother. He already has the makeup.
JENNIFER LAWRENCE SPOTTED OUT WITH HER EX: Jennifer Lawrence may be seeing ex-boyfriend Nicholas Hoult again.
On Monday night, the "Jack the Giant Slayer" star had dinner with his Oscar-winning ex at The Little Door in Hollywood, according to the New York Daily News.
Well, that's it, then. She's obviously pregnant with his child.
Lawrence, 22, and Hoult, 23, split up in January after two years together. They met on the set of "X-Men: First Class." They gave the ol' "growing apart" reason for their breakup.
The "Warm Bodies" actor told E! News at the premiere of his film that he is "very proud" of her "Silver Linings Playbook" awards season success. Lawrence also has gushed about Hoult.
"He is honestly my best friend," she told Elle magazine in December. "He's my favorite person to be around, and he makes me laugh harder than anybody."
The Daily News said the pair have started work on "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
LINDSAY LOHAN BECOMES A BLOGGER: Lindsay Lohan will blog about her rehab experience for gossip site Celebuzz.
That loud, painful groan you just heard was journalism finally dying.
The Huffington Post reports that Lohan will follow in the footsteps of the Kardashian sisters, who have their own sites within the Celebuzz network, which they use to blog, post photos and promote things.
Oh ... I didn't know that. I guess journalism already died and no one bothered to tell me.
The New York Post reported that Lohan's writing gig won't start until August, after Lohan (maybe) completes her rehab sentence without escaping (don't count on it). The site is also intended to be a way for Lohan to write about "art, fashion, music and movies."
They better have a nuclear-powered spell check over there at Celebuzz.
There's no word on whether Lohan would be paid. The actress is scheduled to enter rehab for the sixth time Thursday, at Seafield Center in Westhampton Beach. In March, Lohan was sentenced to 90 days of rehab in a "lockdown" facility as part of her plea bargain, in which she pleaded no contest to charges of reckless driving and lying to the police.
MAY 1 IN HISTORY
Wednesday is May 1, the 121st day of 2013. There are 244 days left in the year.
1707: the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.
1786: Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro" premiered in Vienna.
1898: Commodore George Dewey gave the command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish squadron in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.
1931: New York's 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. Singer Kate Smith made her debut on CBS Radio on her 24th birthday.
1941: The Orson Welles motion picture "Citizen Kane" premiered in New York.
1960: The Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
1961: The first U.S. airline hijacking took place as Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Miami electrician, commandeered a National Airlines plane that was en route to Key West, Fla., and forced the pilot to fly to Cuba.
1963: James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.
1971: The intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.
1992: On the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, "Can we all get along?"
2003: President George W. Bush, co-piloting an S-3B Viking, landed on the deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the Southern California coast; standing below a banner strung across the ship's bridge proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," Bush declared that major combat in Iraq was over, but also said "difficult work" remained ahead. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake killed 177 people in Turkey.
2008: Three dozen people were killed in a double suicide bombing during a wedding procession in Balad Ruz, Iraq. A military jury at Fort Hood, Texas, acquitted Army Sgt. Leonard Trevino of premeditated murder in the death of an unarmed Iraqi insurgent. A U.S. missile strike in central Somalia killed the reputed leader of al-Qaida in Somalia.
2012: In a swift and secretive trip to the Afghan war zone, President Barack Obama signed an agreement vowing long-term ties with Afghanistan after America's combat forces returned home. Hundreds of activists across the U.S. joined worldwide May Day protests, with Occupy Wall Street members in several cities leading demonstrations and in some cases clashing with police.
Former astronaut Scott Carpenter (88), singer Judy Collins (74), singer Rita Coolidge (68), singer Ray Parker Jr. (59), jockey Steve Cauthen (53), country singer Tim McGraw (46), rock musician Johnny Colt (45), rock musician D'Arcy (45), movie director Wes Anderson (44). actress Kerry Bishe (Film: "Argo") (29).